I only crossed it this morning but NBC Sports revealed the top 10 markets for broadcasts of the 1st round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. Those top 10 are listed in the tweet below and my thoughts and such are below it:
Here are Top 10 local markets through first 12 days of #StanleyCupPlayoffs across NBCU nets:
1 Pittsburgh 2.50
2 Buffalo 2.02
3 Nashville 1.63
4 Boston 1.16
5 Providence 1.02
6 Tampa 0.96
7 Columbus, OH 0.95
t8 Ft. Myers 0.90
t8 Wash, DC 0.90
10 Denver 0.89
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) April 24, 2018
Let’s go a little bit on this to point an “issue” (of opinion by myself) on this listing. Boston and Providence are generally in the same region and only separated by 50 miles. It’s a truth about the northeast region and close proximity but the distance between Providence and Boston is 50 miles. Key in how the Bruins AHL affiliate is in Providence and you can see how boosting Boston and delisting Providence may be more appropriate.
Then there’s Tampa…
That’s one city name listed there; are we talking just about Tampa or the Tampa Bay metro area by and large? If it’s Tampa Bay and not labeled as such, so be it. If it’s only the city of Tampa and not the region, the ratings number tied to the market should be higher or lower, depending on the influence of the region.
What really hits me hard here is seeing Ft. Myers on the list. Someone immediately might (and should) ask, “Isn’t Fr. Myers in the same situation as Boston and Providence? They’re in the same region…” Ft. Myers is 125 miles south of the greater Tampa Bay metro area. It’s also the smallest market on this listing. The 2016 listed population of Ft. Myers is only 77,146. That’s more than 100,000 less than Providence and only a fraction of the other listed markets.
That should tell you that doubts often expressed by naysayers to troll the Florida based teams (and other clubs in southern markets) is horseshit. That and the NHL playoffs of 2018 aren’t drawing from a wider girth of NHL fans across the United States.
It’s notable that Philadelphia is not on that listing. The series between the Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins wasn’t just a surprising and combative affair bur also a rivalry matchup between Pennsylvania teams. The Flyers were a worthwhile story too, turning things around this season after their elongated, what-the-bloody-hell losing streak to start the 2017-18 season…
Another notable aspect is the missing western markets, sans Colorado. It’s unfair to point to it because the Vegas/Los Angeles and San Jose/Anaheim series’ were both done quickly, that and how Vegas is brand-new as an NHL and pro sports market. I have to also note I don’t know how much exposure the four aforementioned teams had on NBC properties.